“Smell that! The clean air, the fresh pine…” Chana said smiling looking around at the large trees.
Arturo tried to hide his own grin. When he had suggested that they visit Granite Falls, he’d been afraid Chana would question his desire to spent time in the great outdoors. But he knew she had always wanted to go camping and he’d been sure to insist on a cabin. They’d brought the tent, but for the kids. He had no desire to sleep on the ground again. He checked his phone. It was 10am. The workers should be arriving just about now. He wanted to call them to check that his instructions made sense. But not until the cabin was empty.
“There’s an upstairs here!” Bella called out from the second floor. She sounded surprised. Arturo glanced at Chana and they laughed. True, the cabin was larger than their own house. Plus he noticed the living room even had a TV. Luxury indeed.
“Can I go for a hike?” Bella appeared at their elbows already breathless from racing down the stairs.
“Stay in sight of the cabin,” Arturo warned.
“Fine then,” Chana said. “Stay together and be back for lunch. I’ll fry up some fish.”
Bella sped outside, trailed by a slightly slower Samuel.
Chana turned to Arturo. He laughed at her puppy dog eyes and shooed her out of the house. “Go, go.” He didn’t dare tell her how much he wanted her gone as well. “I’ll put up the tent, I should remember how.”
Workers sorted, Arturo still had plenty of time to set up the tent and start the fire before Chana returned.
Bella came back first excited about everything she’d seen.
“They have so many different kinds of flowers here, and trees!”
“No, it was really quiet. All I could hear were birds and bugs.” She made a face as she said the last.
“Haha, quite a lot of bugs here, aren’t there.” He’d already encountered more insects than he wanted just setting up the tent. Luckily the fire seemed to keep them away.
“Want to play horseshoes, Iz?” Samuel asked returning from his own adventures. Arturo could see Chana returning from her fishing trip, he stood up as as Bella bounced to her feet.
Sam went jogging the next morning.
Granite Falls was weird. All mountains and trees and not a single speck of ocean. He’d had trouble falling asleep last night still listening for the sound of the surf. Izz had decided to sleep in the tent last night. So he’d had the room all to himself. Not hearing her breathe was also strange. It was so quiet here. Eventually though, the frogs had done the trick. And he’d dreamed of dancing bears.
Despite those troubles, he’d woken up refreshed. Tiptoeing by his parent’s bedroom downstairs, he tied his shoes and then left the house for a morning jog. He waved to several other morning enthusiasts.
Back home, everyone was still asleep so he decided to make breakfast for everyone. Scrambled eggs couldn’t be that difficult and he’d been reading his mother’s cookbooks back home. But at home, he never woke up before his mom.
“You’re up early,” his mom said as he moved the eggs from the the bowl to the stove. “Need a hand?”
“I think I’m good.” He said trying not to feel self conscious. How long had she been watching him? Luckily the eggs turned out decent with a little assistance from his mom who kept him from burning them. They finished cooking just in time as the rest of the household woke up.
“What’s the plan for today?” His dad asked as he sat down at the table, book in hand.
“I’m going bug hunting,” Izzy said. Sam noticed his father wince slightly.
“Fishing for me,” his mom said. “If you find any bugs, bring them to me, honey. The fish will love them.”
“I’m going to hang out a bit.” Sam said. He wanted revenge on the horseshoes, but without Izzy. It annoyed him that she had done better than him yesterday.
“I’ll keep an eye on the house as well,” his dad said last. “It’s been ages since I’ve gotten to read for fun.”
It was already the last day of their vacation, Izzy sighed.
“Sleep well, last night?”
“Perfectly,” Izzy answered her brother’s question. Camping had been so cool. She didn’t understand why her brother didn’t want to sleep in the tent. “You can hear everything, it’s like being outside.”
“I woke up in the middle of the night,” she told her family. “It was sooo quiet, I could only hear the wind in the trees and the lake waters sounded like a tiny tiny ocean.” She’d left the tent and the whole world was magical. All dark greens and lightening bugs. She laid down on the grass and could see all the constellations. So many more than were visible back home.
“After breakfast, want to play stars, Bella?” Her dad asked bringing her back to the present.
She won of course, but then again she was the champion of stars and her dad kept forgetting the rules.
“Have you had fun?” he asked as they shuffled the cards for the next game.
“Very much!” she paused a bit. Dad had been pretty quiet the past two days. “Did you?”
“Sure,” he said. “I’m not trekking all over the place like you and your mom, but I still had fun.”
“Do we have to go back home tonight?”
“You have school tomorrow, right?”
“Yeah.” School seemed like a pretty boring reason to go home. They’d gotten to skip school on Friday, so it wasn’t that important to rush back just for school.
“Plus,” he leaned forward and lowered his voice, looking around. “Can you keep a secret?”
Izzy’s eyes went wide. A secret? She nodded slowly.
“When we get back, make sure you mom doesn’t go to her garden. She needs to go directly into the house and stay there until it’s day again.”
“I can water the plants!”
“I’ll leave it up to you and your brother. But you can’t tell her what you see out there, okay?”
Izzy nodded with growing excitement. A secret! She looked at the clock; how soon were they going home?